Sunderland 0 - 1 Aston Villa: Villa enjoy gift of Gab
Gus Poyet was in sombre mood after seeing Sunderland pass up a chance to dig themselves out of relegation trouble.
Victory would have lifted his side out of the drop zone. However, defeat at the Stadium of Light plunged Poyet's men back into the mire.
The game was settled with just 15 minutes played when Gabriel Agbonlahor capitalised on Lee Cattermole's error to round keeper Vito Mannone and roll the ball into the empty net.
Sunderland thought they had levelled when Emanuele Giaccherini fired home from Steven Fletcher's knock-down, but a harsh offside flag ended his celebrations.
Clearly angered, the 46-year-old Uruguayan was keen to say as little as possible in public.
In a brief post-match press conference, he said: "It was a very difficult day for me. I need to be careful with what I say because it could bring consequences, so I am going to say very little.
"Sorry about that, but I think it is best."
Villa boss Paul Lambert said: "I thought we deserved it and could have run out more comfortable winners. We should have at least had three or four, the chances we had."